Archive for August, 2018

Zimmerman Walkoffs Plus Walkoff Leaders

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

The walkoff by Ryan Zimmerman a couple days ago was his 11th of his career. That puts him in the top ten of players with the most walkoff homeruns. The league leader in walkoffs is Jim Thome with 13. The fact that Zimmerman took three years to hit his 11th walk off and seems to be hampered by injuries does not make it seem plausible that he will pass Thome. Rookie David Bote has five major league homeruns, two of them walkoffs. Perhaps he will be making this list shortly. Below is the list of his walkoffs and the career leaders below that.

1. June 18, 2006, it was father’s day and with his dad in the stands the rookie hit his first walk off homerun against the New York Yankees and current teammate Chien-Ming Wang. The 2-run shot had given the Nationals a 3-2 win. That was the first time I remember seeing a player flip his batting helmet before reaching the mob of players waiting for him at home plate.

2. July 4, 2006, it was Independence Day and Zimmerman’s 3-run homer off the Marlins Joe Borowski gave the Nationals a 6-4 win.

3. The game started on May 12, 2007, but with the rain delays it was Mother’s Day the next day when Zimmerman hit a 2-out grand slam off the Florida Marlins Jorge Julio. Jorge had just come into the game to face the Z-man and Ryan drove the pitch over the wall in left center.

4. March 30, 2008 - the opening day at Nationals park. While it wasn’t a holiday, it could be considered a special event. The Z-man christened the new stadium by ending the game with a solo shot off the Atlanta Braves Peter Moylan to give the Nationals a 3-2 win. It was the first homerun by the Nationals in the new stadium.

5. September 9, 2009, just a normal day, but it had to be a holiday somewhere. The Marlins had just broken a tie with two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 4-2 lead. Willie Harris greeted Leo Nunez first pitch with a solo shot to lead off the inning. After a Christian Guzman single on his first pitch Ryan Zimmerman drove a 1-1 count into deep left centerfield to give the Nationals a 5-4 win.

6. July 6, 2010. Ryan Zimmerman had already hit a walk off single on this date in 2006 against the Florida Marlins. This time they were playing the San Diego Padres with the score tied 5-5. On a 1-0 count the Z-man drove a Luke Gregerson pitch over the centerfield fence for a 6-5 win.

7. July 31, 2010. The game was against the Philadelphia Phillies and Brad Lidge was on the mound. The Phillies were ahead 5-4 with runners on first and second with just one out. The Z-man ran the count to 2-1 before crushing a Lidge pitch into the centerfield bleachers to give the Nationals a 7-5 win. He had hit a homerun off Lidge the previous year in the bottom of the ninth, but that shot had only pulled the Nationals to within 9-8.

8. August 19, 2011, another game that was delayed by rain and went well into the night. The Phillies had a 4-1 lead when the second rain delay hit. Most people had gone home when the Z-man hit a dramatic grand slam on a 3-2 count off of Ryan Madson deep down the left field line. It was his second walk off grand slam of his young career.

9. July 26, 2013, they had just lost to the New York Mets in the first game of the doubleheader 11-0. The team was facing Matt Harvey in the night cap. They scored their lone run against Harvey on a Daniel Murphy error. Harvey went eight and was relieved by LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth with the score tied 1-1. Hawkins retired his first hitter, but Zimmerman took him deep for his ninth walkoff homerun. Interesting the night before Bryce Harper had hit his first career walkoff homerun.

10. May 19, 2015, Wilson Ramos had tied the score at 6-6 with a solo shot in the sixth, the third homerun by the Nationals in the game. In the bottom of the tenth the Yankees brought out Andrew Miller to pitch. He walked Yunel Escobar but then struck out Bryce Harper for the second out. Ryan Zimmerman ran the count to 3-1 then stroked a line drive dying quail that was curving toward the foul pole. It kept curving. And curving. Until it hit the right side of the foul pole and bounced into the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals win 8-6.

11. August 22, 2018, This is the longest Zimmerman has gone without a walk off. Down 7-6 against the Phillies, the Nationals had just waved the white flag, trading Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams to announce their departure from the playoff race. Zimmerman smacked an opposite field shot that he watched travel towards the right field bleachers. He felt the ball hit beyond the bleachers. The umpires felt differently, saying it hit on top of the bleachers. Zimmerman had to stop at second. A review was done and the umpires reversed the call and ruled it a homerun. That puts him in a tie for eighth place with David Ortiz and Tony Perez with 11. Jim Thome leads the pack with 13. Babe Ruth is tied with a number of players with 12, including Albert Pujols the only other current player on the top ten with 12.

Jim Thome 13
Jimmie Fox 12
Mickey Mantle 12
Stan Musial 12
Albert Pujols 12
Frank Robinson 12
Babe Ruth 12
Tony Perez 11
David Ortiz 11
Ryan Zimmerman 11
Dick Allen 10
Harold Baines 10
Barry Bonds 10
Adam Dunn 10
Jason Giambi 10
Reggie Jackson 10
Mike Schmidt 10
Sammy Sosa 10

United States Dominates Baseball Women’s World Cup

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

The United States has dominated the baseball women’s world cup being hosted in Vierra, Florida. On the first day they beat Puerto Rico 14-0. The second day was more of the same with an 18-0 thrashing of Netherlands. The third day saw the United States pounce on Korea 11-1.

The big bats for the United States have been Megan Baltzell who is hitting .857 in seven at bats. Four of her six hits have gone for doubles and she has driven in 9 runs. Anna Kimbrell is hitting .800 with 7 runs driven in.

Japan is the other undefeated team playing in pool B. They dominated Korea in their opener 8-0 then handled Hong Kong pretty easily 23-0. Yesterday they just pulled one out against Canada 2-1. Canada outhit them 8 to 2 but in the first Japan took advantage of a single and two walks to load the bases for a bunt sacrifice to score their first run. They used a walk, an errant pick off throw and a bunt error to score their second run.

Canada used three singles to score their first run in the sixth, loading the bases in the inning but failing to score more than one run. They strung together two hits in the seventh but failed to score taking their first loss in the tournament. Japan got 11 baserunners via walks.

Diamondbacks Sign Shumpie Yoshikawa

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact Yoshikawa will have in the major leagues. The Diamondbacks signed the 23 year old righthander to a contract after he failed to put his name in the Japanese draft. Considered one of the top Japanese prospects out of Japan, he is the first Japanese player to bypass the NPB since Junichi Tazawa did it in 2008 when he signed with the Red Sox.

Shumpie was supposed to pitch for Japan in the Asian games in Indonesia, but his signed a major league contract will prevent him from playing on the Japanese national team.

Japan Shuts Out Puerto Rico; Peachtree Advances in Little League World Series

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Japan and Puerto Rico battled it out for six innings. The only run scored in the game was in the third inning. Masaumi Ikeuchi doubled and Yuya Ito singled with an error allowing Ikeuchi to score. Masato Igarashi worked 3.2 innings and Shisei Fujimoto retired all seven hitters he faced, four of them on whiffs to close out the win. John Lopez pitched all six innings for Puerto Rico in the hard luck loss.

Staten Island scored three runs in the top of the first but were quieted for the remainder of the game. Peachtree City rallied for two spots in the first three innings to take control of the game, cruising to a 7-3 win. Tai Peete recovered quickly after giving up three runs in the first and pitched through the fifth inning without allowing another run. Ben Traxler retired the last thee hitters to close out the win.

In the semifinal game Japan (Tokyo) plays Korea (Seoul) for the international championship while Peachtree City battles Honolulu for the United States championship. The two winners meet for the Little League World Series championship.

Under 15 World Cup All Tournament Team

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

MVP - Cody Schrier (United States) SS - .476, 2, 8 with 17 runs scored and 4 for 4 in stolen bases

Catcher - Edgar Quero (Cuba) - .400, 0, 6

First Base - Brady House (United States) - .448, 1, 16 with 10 runs scored

Second Base - Seiya Fukuhara (Japan) - .296, 0, 9 with five stolen bases in six attempts

Third Base - Luke Leto (United States) - .364, 0, 9 with three doubles and one triple and 13 runs scored

Shortstop - Reginald Preciado (Panama) - .393, 0, 9

Outfield - Oscar Aude (Dominican Republic) - (.417, 2, 12, 11 runs scored), Luis Durango (Panama) - (.296, 0, 1 with 9 runs scored), Ryan Spikes (United States) - )375, 0, 8

Starting Pitcher - Andrew Painter (United States) - 2-0, 0.70 with 13 whiffs in 10 innings and a .200 opposition average

Relief Pitcher - Alexis Bernal (Panama) - 1-0, 0.68, .152 opposition average and 13 whiffs in 10.1 innings

Designated Hitter - Aoi Sugishita (Japan) - .438, 0, 8

Defensive Player - Kai-Yu Liu (Taiwan) - .059, 0, 2

Others to Applaud Based on Stats

Australia

Jake Burns - .267, 2, 8
Charlie Collins - .412, 2 doubles and 2 triples
Quinn Johnson - .471

Brazil

Pedro Lemos - 2-0, 0.54 18 whiffs in 13 innings and .184 opposition average
Joao Sakurai - 1.31 ERA, 12 K’s and 10 walks in 10.2 innings but a .061 opposition average.

Cuba

Frank Gonzalez - .348, 2 triples, 9 runs scored and 10 RBIs
Brander Guevara - 1-0, 0.66, .189 opposition average

Dominican Republic

Ronny Polanco - .385, 1, 5, 10 runs scored

Japan

Asahi Hanada - .419, 0, 8 with 10 runs scored and four stolen bases in five attempts

Taiwan

Ying-Chieh Mao - .500, 0, 6 with 6 doubles
Ping-En Wu - .474, 0, 5 with two doubles and one triple

United States

Samuel Dutton - 1-0, 0.00 with .143 opposition average.

Little League World Series Update

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Myworld has been busy preparing for the opening of high school volleyball season. Meeting with parents, athletic director and two a day practices makes for a very busy day. But we got an opening to review the Little League World Series.

Seoul, Korea appears to be the class of the International group. After beating Puerto Rico 4-2 they downed Mexico 5-1. Shoo Hoo Choi had a complete game six inning victory, giving up just three hits and one unearned run. Ji Hyung Choi went deep driving in two and scoring twice. They knocked Japan to the loser’s bracket with a surprisingly easy 10-0 win. The game went only four innings, with Yeong Hyeon Kim allowing just one hit in those four innings. He struck out 10 and did not issue a walk. He also hit two doubles and drove in five runs. Ji Hyung Choi went a perfect 3 for 3 with a homerun, two RBIs and three runs scored.

After losing their opener to Korea, Puerto Rico has worked their way up the loser’s bracket. They eliminated Australia with a 6-0 win, limiting the Aussies to just one hit. Yadiel Delgado went the first four innings and allowed the one hit, striking out seven. Luis Rivera drove in three runs and Eric Rodriguez hit a solo shot. A 3-1 win over Panama puts them into the finals of the winner’s bracket to face Japan. Roberto Joubert had a marvelous five innings of relief, striking out 14 and walking four. He did not allow a hit. Carlos Dejesus drove in two runs with a RBI single in the fourth and a ground out in the fifth.

Honolulu is the class of the United States pool. They had two shutout wins in the first and third games, beating Peachtree Georgia 2-0 and Staten Island, New York 10-0. The first game went 11 innings with a walk off homer from Aukai Kea. Kea also pitched the first 6.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out 10. The win over Staten Island was the finals of the winner’s bracket and fueled by a grand slam from Sean Yamaguchi. He drove in five of the ten runs. Kea again got the start and threw 4.1 innings, giving up just one hit. They also beat Gross Pointe Woods, Michigan 8-3.

Peachtree will play Staten Island in the finals of the loser’s bracket to determine who will get a rematch against Honolulu. Japan will play Puerto Rico, with the winner getting a rematch with Korea.

15 and Under World Cup - United States Beats Panama for Gold

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

United States 7 Panama 1

The United States again used quality pitching to down an opponent, this one in a championship game. The United States scored six runs in the first inning to cruise over Panama. Andrew Painter threw 5.2 innings of one run ball and Luke Leto got the last five outs for the win. Brady House drove in two runs for the winners.

Taiwan 6 Japan 3

It is always a good thing when Taiwan beats Japan. Hae-Yu Lee pitched 6.1 innings to get the win for Taiwan. Japan did bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh but Ping-En Wu retired the last hitter on a ground out. The big bat was Ying-Chieh Mao, who collected three hits, including a double to drive in two runs.

Myworld’s Top Righthanded Pitching Prospects

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Myworld tends to gravitate towards heat but the reality is that those pitchers who can record outs win games. It does not matter how hard a pitcher throws the ball if they fail to record outs. Below is myworld’s top 20 right handed pitchers, excluding any 2018 draft picks. Since there is so much talent here we thought we would expand the list.

1. Mitch Keller (Pirates) - He may not throw the ball as hard as a number of pitchers on this list but he still gets it to the plate in the mid-90s. He also has a good curve and change with control to throw the pitch to the four quadrants of the plate. He has a history of retiring hitters, averaging more than a strikeout per inning and limiting the opposition to a .215 average coming into the 2018 season. In six starts in AAA he is finally struggling (6.67 ERA) but he is struggling with his command. He should be in the Pirates rotation by mid-season 2019 if not making the Pirates rotation at the beginning of the year with a good spring.

2. Forest Whitley (Astros) - The Astros have traded a number of prospects but they have kept their 2016 first round pick. At 6′7″ 240 pounds he has an intimidating presence on the mound. That size and mass also allows him to zip the ball across the plate in the mid 90s. He also carries a hard slider that drops down, hitting the radar in the low 90s. His swing and miss offerings gave him 13.7 whiffs per nine innings his first two seasons. A 50 game suspension for violating major league baseball’s drug testing forced him to miss the first part of the 2018 season. After six starts an oblique injury has knocked him out since July. The good news is none of that missed time is attributed to an arm injury, but it does stall his development process.

3. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The Red Sox drafted him in the first round in 2014. They included him in a trade to acquire Chris Sale. After watching Chris Sale throw in the high 90s on Sunday myworld does not see Kopech reaching that level. He may throw harder, hitting in the triple digits more consistently than Sale but he lacks the command of his pitches. In his last six starts in AAA he has been having success, giving up two or fewer runs to lower his ERA to 3.81. With Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito already in the rotation Kopech should join them at some point next season. It is possible he could get a September callup if the White Sox want to use a 40 man roster spot on him.

4. Sixto Sanchez (Phillies) - As his heat rises so does the Dominicans prospect status rises. His fastball has been clocked in the triple digits, but sits in the mid-90s. The fastball also explodes towards the plate after hitters see his plus changeup. His last four starts Sixto had only given up two earned runs in 25.2 innings of work, walking 4 and striking out 29. Elbow tenderness put him on the disabled list after his June 3 start. The Phillies say it is minor but June has turned to August and Sixto has still not pitched. The way he had been dominating he possibly could have helped the Phillies in their pennant drive.

5. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - The Rays second round 2014 supplemental pick had an opportunity to make the Rays rotation to begin the 2018 season. An elbow issue resulted in Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season. He will probably not be ready to pitch for the Rays until 2020 since most of the 2019 season will be subject to rehabilitation and pitch counts. Prior to the surgery his fastball hit the mid-90s and he had a full repertoire of pitches that included a screwball. Time will tell how those pitches will be impacted after the surgery. His command was good but it may take some time for him to recover after the surgery.

6. Mike Soroka (Braves) - The Braves 2015 first round pick out of Canada was originally not on the list. The Braves had called him up in May and it appeared he would be a part of that rotation. Shoulder issues have not allowed him to pitch since June and his season appears done after just five major league starts, retaining his prospect status. He is a pitcher who does not have a dominating fastball, sitting in the low 90s, but he has good command and a dropping slider that retires hitters. AAA hitters could only hit .204 against him this year. Major league hitters had a little more success (.288). It will take an impressive spring for Soroka to start the 2019 season in the major leagues. The Braves will want to be patient with him and control his pitch counts early in the 2019 season.

7. Hunter Greene (Reds) - Another hard thrower who consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. The 2017 first round pick was sidelined by the elbow sprain that requires Tommy John surgery. This will sideline him for most of next year. He struggled last season and at the beginning of the 2018 season. Just as he was starting to pitch well he experienced the elbow pain. At the end of May his ERA sat at 7.18. When he was placed on the disabled list his ERA dropped to 4.48. The surgery will delay his major league debut until at least 2021. His best use may also be out of the pen.

8. Tristan McKenzie (Indians) - When the 2015 first round supplemental pick puts some more meat on his 6′5″ 165 pound frame the low 90s fastball should juice up to the mid 90s. His long arms give him a nice whip like action and his curveball is a good swing and miss pitch. A solid change gives him three good pitches with good command of those pitches despite his height. In AA the opposition is hitting just .204 against him. Coming into this season he had a career .196 opposition average. Triston is tough to hit with his flailing arms firing darts across the plate. Expect him to make his major league debut sometime next year and be a fixture in the Indians rotation by 2019.

9. Dylan Cease (White Sox) - The Cubs are always looking for pitchers but they traded their sixth round 2104 pick to acquire Jose Quintana. Dylan has always had trouble finding command of his pitches and developing a third pitch to make it as a starter. His fastball has hit triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s and his curve is a decent swing and miss pitch. It appears his command and change are improving. After pitching well in the Carolina League (2.89 ERA) he was promoted to the Southern League where he has pitched even better (1.94 ERA). In eight starts the opposition is hitting just .170 against him with 64 whiffs in 46 innings. Hitters have petitioned for a cease and desist order on his fastball. The White Sox rotation is packed in the minor leagues, but with this kind of success next year he should earn his way into the rotation.

10. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - Whether it is a drug suspension, Tommy John surgery or back injuries, some event has been blocking Alex from pitching in the major leagues. At one point he was the top pitching prospect in baseball. He should have been in a major league rotation two years ago. There are not an infinite number of next years that he can count on. His fastball flashes across the plate in the mid to upper 90s. His curve and change are quality pitches. The one knock you could have on him was his lack of command. With all this inactivity that may be more of an issue. At this point he may have to settle for bullpen work just to stay healthy. The one bright spot of last season is he did get four starts in the minor leagues without allowing a run in 23 innings and followed that up with one start in the majors without allowing a run in four innings. That is 27 innings without allowing a run in 2018. Expect him to get a major league opportunity next year working out of the bullpen to begin the season.

11. Touki Toussaint (Braves) - The Diamondbacks traded their 2014 first round pick to dump salary (Bronson Arroyo) because they felt he would never find the plate. His early years he struggled with ERAs at 5 or greater. At 6′3″ he had good pitcher’s height and with a fastball in the high 90s he was someone the Braves felt they could be patient on. The light bulb has turned on this year for Touki with a 2.93 ERA and .208 opposition average in the minor leagues in 16 AA starts. That led to a promotion to AAA where the success continued (2.01 ERA). Last night he made his major league debut, and though it was only the Marlins he held them to one run on two hits in six innings. The Braves have a number of pitchers competing for the starting rotation but Touki has elevated his status with his 2018 season.

12. Franklin Perez (Tigers) - It has not been a good season for the Tigers top prospect coming into this season. He was one of the players they acquired at the beginning of the season for Justin Verlander. At 6′3″ with a mid-90s fastball you expect domination. Injuries have limited him to seven starts this season, starting with his back and moving to his shoulder. Those seven starts produced a 6.52 ERA. The Tigers will hope for better next year.

13. Michel Baez (Padres) - The 6′8″ Cuban flamethrower will be a force in a couple years. A fastball that sits in the mid-90s with a devastating change is a duo leaving hitters perplexed. He also squeezes in a curve and a slider. This is his second season in the States and he has already reached AA. He was mesmerizing in his 17 AA starts (2.91 ERA) with an opposition average of .229 and 92 whiffs in 86.2 innings. A little hiccup in his first AA start (11.57 ERA) shows he has some work to do. The rebuilding Padres hope he will be ready for their rotation in 2020 when he makes his major league debut.

14. Matt Manning (Tigers) - It is tempting to rate the 2016 first round pick ahead of Perez. He is having a solid season in the minors, pitching well enough in Low A (3.40 ERA) to get a promotion to High A (2.90 ERA). During that time the opposition is hitting just .205 against him. His fastball touches the mid-90s with a solid curve and change combination. What keeps him behind Perez is his lack of command. At 6′6″ that may take some time to improve. He has walked 44 in his 96 innings this year, which is a slight improvement over his walk rate last year. Next year he should hit AA and then compete for the rotation of the rebuilding Tigers in 2020.

15. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks) - Last year there was no pitcher as dominating as Duplantier. The last pitcher to have an ERA lower than 1.39 in the minors was the Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. This year the third round 2016 pick has not been as dominating, but most pitchers would take his numbers (2.03 ERA, .200 opposition average). Injuries delayed the start of his season and bicep tendinitis sidelined him for two months. He missed much of the 2016 season with injuries. If he can avoid those injuries his low to mid-90s fastball, slider, curve and change are enough to retire hitters better than most pitchers. With the success he is having at AA he could reach AAA next year and perhaps compete for a rotation spot in spring training.

16. Kyle Wright (Braves) - The 2017 first round pick can get his fastball in the upper 90s. At 6′4″ he has a good frame with the requisite quality secondary pitches to dominate in the rotation (slider, curve and change). Drafted out of college the Braves have moved him up their minor league system quickly, giving him six starts at High A last year (3.18) ERA) and moving him through AA and AAA this year (3.59 ERA). His numbers are kind of blah (less than a strikeout per inning and a .232 opposition average) and myworld has not seen him pitch, which is a reason for the lower rating. Myworld expects him to compete for a spot with the other young hurlers for a Braves rotation spot in 2019.

17. Adonis Medina (Phillies) - At 6′1″ Adonis lacks the height scouts look for in their right handed starting pitchers. His low to mid-90s fastball and quality change are enough to put the Dominican on this list. His struggles in High A (4.63 ERA) made it tempting not to include him. He has almost hit as many batters (9) as he has given up homeruns (10). Right now he needs to develop consistency. There are too many dominating outings where he hits double digits in strikeouts mixed in with clunkers where he gives up seven runs. The dominating outings show his potential. Next year he should reach AA and if he finds that consistency he could be competing for a rotation spot in 2020.

18. Alex Faedo (Tigers) - Alex dominated in the 2017 College World Series and the Tigers selected him with their first round pick in 2017. With the number of innings he pitched last year in college the Tigers shut him down for the minor league season. This year the Tigers have been aggressive with Alex starting him in High A and promoting him to AA. He has had his struggles in AA (4.54 ERA) giving up 11 homeruns in just 39.2 innings. The slider was his swing and miss pitch in college but he needs to use his mid-90s fastball to set up his slider to the major league hitters. If they know it is coming they won’t swing at the pitch. With his struggles at AA the Tigers may start him there in 2019. A mid-season promotion to the majors is a possibility but don’t expect to see him as a permanent piece in the rotation until 2020.

19. Albert Abreu (Marlins) - He has the tag of the hardest thrower in the minors. The Yankees traded him to the Marlins to acquire Giancarlo Stanton. He hits triple digits with regularity with his fastball and his curve and change are good enough to reach the majors as a starter. Last year he got 9 starts in the Florida State League (4.19 ERA). This year injuries have seem him bounce on and off the disabled list keeping him at High A where his numbers have not shown improvement (4.30 ERA). As hard as he throws he doesn’t stack up a lot of strikeouts. Next year he should get his shot at AA.

20. Brusdar Graterol (Twins) - Tommy John surgery prevented the Venezuelan from playing in 2016. When he was hitting triple digits with his fastball in 2017 the scouts took notice. He has a good fastball/slider combination with the requisite secondary pitches to make it as a starter. This year he dominated in Low A (2.18 ERA) which got him a promotion to High A. There he has had his struggles (4.06 ERA, .287 opposition average) in his seven starts. If he can stay healthy he will compete for a Twins starting rotation spot in 2021. At 19 years of age he has plenty of time to learn his stuff.

Under 15 World Cup - A Panama versus United States championship

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

The United States defeated Japan to set up a Panama versus United States gold medal championship. The two time defending champion Cubans came into the Super Round as the only undefeated team but a third straight loss, this time to Taiwan knocked them out of the medal status. Taiwan will play Japan for the bronze medal.

Taiwan 8 Cuba 5

A tough loss for Cuba will have them go home without any hard wear. Taiwan gave them their third straight defeat, coming back from a 5-0 deficit to score eight in the fourth and fifth innings to seize the victory and earn a spot in the bronze medal game. Yu-Min Lin sprayed three hits to drive in three runs to lead the come back. Chan-I Li also drove in three and scored two runs. Ping-En Wu pitched the last 2.1 innings to earn the save.

Cuba got two hits and two RBIs each from Frank Gonzalez and Leyfi Llanez.

United States 8 Japan 2

Japan took an early 2-0 lead but the United States responded with eight runs in three innings to clinch a gold medal appearance. Cody Schrier has been carrying a hot bat with a homerun and two RBIs to raise his average to .526 with two homeruns and eight RBIs. Brady House drove in three runs with his bases clearing double in the sixth that put the game away. He leads the tournament with 14 RBIs. Ryan Spikes had two hits and two doubles for two RBIs.

The bullpen was lights out for the United States. Samuel Dutton walked just one in his three innings of work and Brady House pitched a perfect seventh to close out the victory. The last time the United States won the gold in the 15 and under was in 2011.

Panama 3 Dominican Republic 2

Panama got their gold medal opportunity with a win over a stubborn Dominican team. Edwin Hidalgo had an RBI single in the second and an RBI double in the fourth to lead the Panama offense. Francisco Cardenas pitched five solid innings, but struggled in the sixth, giving up two runs. Jose Sianca got the last five outs to secure the victory. For Panama this is their first appearance in a gold medal game in the 15 and under.

The United States gave Panama its only loss with a 4-1 win. Taiwan gave the United States it only loss.

Nationals Remain a Magnet to .500

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

At this point in the season a team should recognize they are what they are. You can blame injuries, poor years, bad bullpens, whatever. As you head into September you are either a good team as reflected by your won loss record, an average team or a poor team. The Nationals are an average team. They can not escape .500.

Even the infusion of youth could not light a fire under these group of veterans. Juan Soto has had one of the more phenomenal rookie seasons in baseball, but even this has not been able to get the Nationals past .500. They have even had team meetings once they creeped a couple games below .500 but two weeks later they remain at .500. They are what they are.

A 7-5 loss to the poor Miami Marlins put them at 62-62. A porous bullpen was again the cause of the loss. Koda Glover, the newest National closer since Sean Doolittle, Kelvin Herrera and Ryan Madson are now on the disabled list had trouble finding outs in the tenth inning. With runners on first and third and two outs the Nationals chose to walk J.T. Riddle intentionally to load the bases to face Isaac Galloway.

Riddle had been riddling the Nationals pitching staff all night with a double, single and homerun in four at bats, driving in four of the five Marlins runs. You can’t fault them for choosing to walk Riddle. Unfortunately, the walk put the pressure on Glover to throw strikes. He got behind in the count 2-0, was forced to throw a meat ball to Galloway and Isaac ripped the ball into center for a two run single. Bryce Harper tried to charge the ball to make the throw home but the ball hit off his glove and prevented any play on the second runner coming home.

It was not a bad night for National starter Jefry Rodrigiuz. He gave up a solo homerun to Derek Dietrich to lead off the second and J.T. Riddle laced one into the right centerfield gap in the fifth inning to score Austin Dean to make it 2-2. In the sixth he gave up two singles to J.T. Realmuto and Brian Anderson to start the inning. Dave Martinez has been careful with not letting Rodriguez face a lineup a third time but with Rodriguez pitching so well and the bullpen shaky he extended his outing.

Tim Collins came on and struck out the lefthanded hitter Dietrich. Jimmy Cordero came on after that, a tough spot to place on the rookie. Coming into the season he was not considered one of the Nationals top prospects but was having a good season at AAA with a 1.96 ERA in 41 games. He also throws hard, hitting the high 90s with his fastball. The Nationals acquired Cordero from the Phillies last year for a playerd to be named later, but later in the season put him on waivers. No other team picked him up leaving him a National for next season.

Cordero appeared to be out of the inning when Starlin Castro hit a hard ground ball to Daniel Murphy. A tailor made double play ball. The ball clanked off Murphy’s glove and everyone was safe, loading the bases. Cordero struck out Austin Dean for the second out. J.T. Riddle ripped a hard line drive over the head of Murphy for a single to drive in two. One could argue a better fielding, more flexible second baseman could have caught the liner, but that is all conjecture. Even Murphy admitted he did not play the line drive well.

The Nationals had difficulty hitting Wei-Yin Chen. Trea Turner clubbed a two run drive in the second to give the Nationals an early 2-1 lead. Jefry Rodriguez helped his cause by driving a single prior to the Turner at bat. That was all the Nationals could muster against Chen. He lasted 5.2 innings and the Nationals could only touch him for five hits.

Down 4-2 in the seventh the Nationals rallied for a couple. Daniel Murphy started the inning off with a single to left center. Adam Eaton pinch hit for Michael Taylor and hit a slow roller to third baseman Brian Anderson, who let the ball roll underneath his glove. The scorer generously gave Eaton a hit. Matt Wieters was hit on the foot with a pitch, a call the Nationals had to challenge to get the hit by pitch ruling. With the bases loaded and no outs Tayron Guerrero bounced one past the catcher for a wild pitch to score one. Adams popped out to shortstop for the first out. Trea Turner blooped a pitch to centerfield. Galloway just missed making a diving catch, Eaton scoring on the hit but Wieters stopping at third. The potential rookie of the year came up to win the game. The crowd was hopeful. But it was not to be. Soto grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and keep the score tied.

J.T. Riddle began the top of the ninth with a homerun off Justin Miller over the Nationals bullpen into the second deck. Adam Eaton led off the bottom of the ninth with a blast into the right field bleachers off Drew Streckenrider, sprinting around the bases as if his hair was on fire.

The Nationals bullpen was spent. Glover came out to hold the lead in the tenth but failed. After making two comebacks the Nationals three hitters could not get the ball out of the infield, all three grounding out to end the game. The magnet had brought them back to .500.

Game Notes: The Marlins had an outfield loaded with AAA players. Rafael Ortega was in right field, Austin Dean played left, Isaac Galloway was in center. Even Brian Anderson, their third baseman was in the minors last year, but he has been playing with the team all season this year…Myworld did not like how Bryce Harper walked after a loose ball sitting in foul territory in right field in the second inning. He picked the ball up, flipped it to the fans in right field then casually walked back to his position while everyone waited. At least do a slow jog. It was as if he had no energy…For J.T. Riddle the four RBIs in a game tied his career high. If not for the intentional walk in the tenth he could have surpassed it. He was also a triple short of hitting for the cycle…Wei-Yin Chen entered this game with a road ERA of 10.27. Perhaps because D.C. is so close to Baltimore, where he started his major league career he did not consider this a road game…The Marlins bullpen lacks veteran presence but they still pitched well. Brett Graves picked up his first career save. Drew Rucinski, Tayron Guerrero, Adam Conley and Drew Streckenrider all came out of the pen for the Marlins.